I find long drives a source of stress. I know that if I’m not careful it can cause back pain for me.
So what stresses you out? And what do you do when you have to do something that you know can trigger pain or stress?
Feeling in control as much as possible is the starting point. So, using my driving example, I’m much better now at planning my route, planning lots of breaks so that I am not stuck in that fixed position for too long, making sure I have plenty of time so I don’t add on the stress of being late.
Then I have my “emergency checklist” of physical things to notice when I’m driving. These are signs that I’m letting stress creep in.
· Is my jaw tight?
· Where is my tongue? Is it jammed at the top of my mouth? Can I just let it rest at the bottom of my mouth?
· Am I gripping and tightening my neck and pulling my head back? I can guarantee that I am, at least a little, so I think of releasing my neck muscles and letting my head go (gently!) up.
The more you think about these things the more automatic it becomes to check on them. It not only helps you to not get so stressed, but helps prevent those headaches etc that you can get after a stressful experience.
What do you have to do that stresses you out? How could you make it easier for yourself?